Whilst two diamonds may at first glance look alike, the truth is that they are very different. Although they may be of equal size, they may have very unequal values. There are four characteristics used across the globe that will assist you when buying a diamond. They are known as the 4 Cs - cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. It is the combination of these four factors that help determine the value of a diamond. Within these 4 Cs there are also sliding parameters which influence the price. The 4 Cs are intended as a guide only.
Cut and Shape
The cut of a diamond refers not only to its shape but also its 'cut quality'. The 'cut quality' refers to the arrangement of the diamond's facets and the quality of the cut of the diamond - proportions, symmetry, polish and ultimately the way light performs within the diamond. When cut to good proportions, the diamond is better able to handle light, creating more fire, brilliance and sparkle. In turn, it commands a higher value. When you are choosing your diamond, just hold it up and make sure you like the way the light dances around it. When a diamond is cut with ideal proportions the light is returned out of the top of the diamond. If it is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it escapes out of the side.
The traditional diamond shape is the round brilliant cut. It features 58 facets, or small flat polished planes, designed to yield the maximum amount of light to be reflected back to the viewer. A well cut diamond is symmetrical and capable of reflecting nearly all the light that enters it, thus resulting in maximum brilliance compared to other diamond shapes.
Fancy cuts refer to all other cuts of diamond apart from the traditional round Brilliant cut. Marquise, Emerald, Cushion and Asscher cuts are becoming increasingly popular, especially for engagement rings.
Most diamonds contain tiny inclusions that are like nature's fingerprints, making each diamond unique. Even though they neither mar its beauty, nor endanger its durability, the fewer and smaller the inclusions are, the less they will interfere with the passage of light through the diamond. So, the more the diamond will sparkle. A diamond that is free of both inclusions and surface blemishes is particularly rare and therefore more valuable. The clarity of a diamond can range from Flawless to Pique or Imperfect. Clarity of the diamond is more important in the context of colourless diamonds as it pertains to how easily the light enters and reflects around the diamond, when a diamonds has higher clarity, light moves more efficiently around the diamond. When considering coloured diamonds, clarity becomes less important.
Diamonds come in a range of natural colours from totally colourless white diamonds to black. Diamonds with no trace of colour are extremely rare and the closer they are to having no colour the rarer and more valuable they become. Stones are graded by colour and given designations dependent upon how far they deviate from purest white. Also rare, are diamonds with strong pure colour, which are as valued for their depth of colour, as white diamonds are for their lack of colour.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats and one carat weighs one-fifth of a gram. The word is derived from the carob seeds that were used to balance scales in ancient times. One carat is divided into 100 points so that a diamond of 0.75 carat weight is 75 points. Larger diamonds are rarer. Fine quality can be found in diamonds of all shapes and sizes. It's important to find a diamond size that suits you and the style of jewellery you are buying or having made. The cut and measurement of a diamond along with the setting can make a diamond appear bigger (or smaller) than its actual weight. Talk to us about how to find the right diamond and setting to optimise the beauty of the stone.